Colorado educators joined thousands of teachers across the country in protests this week, calling for better pay and more funding for education as a whole. Dressed in red in solidarity with teachers in Arizona, thousands of teachers from Colorado descended upon the Capitol on Thursday and Friday, demanding change.
Readers on Facebook had mixed reactions to the walkouts. Says Hannah:
Let me summarize: PEOPLE need money to survive. TEACHERS are people. "Education needs more money" is meant to provoke a knee-jerk reaction. Teachers literally do need more money. Why? Let's count the ways... To those who say "let them starve! let them be unhoused! Let them teach our kids without any accompanying learning devices," I say... You do realize that Education is the foundation of a just & good society, correct? Shall we keep falling behind in the ranking of countries? Shall we all live like cavemen? Shall we all become Nazis?
What happened to ethics and integrity? So it's okay to lie as long as it serves your agenda? What does this teach the students? How does this uphold a doctor's Hippocratic oath? Let the truth be what guides you as history shows how others have suffered far worse consequences to maintain the validity of their cause. It should always be about doing what is right, not easy.
I'm with the teachers. They do awesome things and I hope the money becomes available. But protesting comes with consequences. You have to decide what's more important. You can't expect another person to cover your ass by putting theirs on the line.
Keep reading for more stories about education.
The atmosphere leading to the protests was tense, given the introduction of a bill that threatens to jail teachers who strike and a call for doctors willing to write notes for protesting instructors who may otherwise have their pay docked for attending rallies even if schools are closed in their district. But Amie Baca-Oehlert, vice president of the Colorado Education Association, prefers to keep the focus on the reasons teachers are demonstrating.
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"We have chronically underfunded our system," Baca-Oehlert says. "We need to do better by our students, and by our community."
The week before what Baca-Oehlert refers to as the current "days of action," Senator Bob Gardner and Representative Paul Lundeen, a pair of Republican legislators from El Paso County, introduced Senate Bill 18-264, which "prohibits public school teachers and teacher organizations from directly or indirectly inducing, instigating, encouraging, authorizing, ratifying, or participating in a strike against any public school employer."
The measure requires public school employers to seek an injunction from district court to end any strikes, and failure to abide by such an edict would be punishable by "fines or up to six months in county jail, or both."
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